With thanks to Rosemary, who alerted me to the existence of this series of concerts from the other side of the world.
On the day daylight saving ends, I rug up for a Chopin concert in a photographic gallery at No 8, Castle Square. I’m a bit apprehensive, expecting visibility in a small audience. But I’m greeted in English: “Hello. You must be Meg”, and ushered to a front row chair three paces from the piano, with my name tied to it with a red ribbon. That makes me feel very much at home.
I look around the gallery, part of the structure of the Royal Castle. The domed ceiling is brick; the plaster walls have been painted white where photographs hang. One collection of photos are in colour, people in tumbledown living conditions, a mournful dog lying in the dirt, a mother and child over the stove, a picture of Christ near a doorway with peeling paint. These give way to black and white portraits of men with tattoos and diminishing clothing. The room becomes hot, and the windows onto the Castle Square are opened briefly.
The introduction is in English (what a chauvinist I am!); Wojciech Pyrć walks onto the stage; and the concert begins. I love the proximity to the player although I can’t see his hands. I can however hear the splendid results of their motion, Chopin pouring into my head in the “city of his spirit and his heart”. It’s hard to believe that such diversity of sound comes from one man and the instrument in front of me.
At interval, a table in another room is laid out with small fine-stemmed conical glasses of mead. The photographs here are of musicians: a man, scabby-kneed, sitting on a wall playing his accordion ; a man in a field with his banjo (?) slung on his hip; a woman photographed from below against the sky, the perspective making it impossible to identify the instrument she holds; a small boy in an alley eying off a drum on the ground with some suspicion.
Then it’s time for the second half. I down the remains of my mead in a hurry and return to my designated seat, disappointed to find the label no longer in place. After listening with delight to the rest of the program and an encore, I retrieve my coat, and head off to the next of the evening’s delights: my daughter is hosting the traditional farewell dinner for a departing visitor at Mozaika, the restaurant in the same block as our apartments. (To a woman from Potato Point this proximity is significant.
At https://www.facebook.com/TimeforChopin/ you can watch Wojciech Pyrć perform: you may have to scroll down.